Mistaken for Strangers

Director Tom Berninger
United States / 75 min. / 2013 / English

The kid brother of Matt Berninger (The National) signs up as roadie on a tour and films his pathetic journey until they kick him out. This is not a mockumentary, but a sad and comical peek at talent and the (corrupt) relationship between siblings and between success/failure.


They've called this a self-mockumentary, because there still ain't a genre that fits the bill. The premise? The kid brother of Matt Berninger (The National) who's anything but a rock star, doesn't look after himself and has rather peculiar opinions about his big brother's music ("He thinks that indie rock is pretentious bullshit", as Matt puts it), signs up – against all advice – as a roadie for one of the band's tours. He intends to film a typical rock-doc, but it all gets really twisted: he disses his older brother, skives, and bugs the hell out of the other band members with questions that verge on lunacy ("How famous are you?" or "Who plays faster, him or you?"). He bitches relentlessly, loses the guest lists and, umm..., leaves his cereal and milk on the bathroom floor. All this without putting the camera down! This is his pathetic odyssey - one that naturally ends up with him being booted out. Although we veer between guffawing and weeping, this is no mockumentary, but a tragic, comic and truthful peek at talent, the (corrupt) relationship between siblings, and between success and failure. A film that's as cringe-worthy, addictive and terrible as spying on your neighbor with binoculars.


Tom Berninger is the brother of Matt Berninger (The National). "My brother is a rock star and I am not", he affirms. He likes horror and metal films. This is his first feature-length documentary. 

Entradas BCN


Premiere type
National Premiere

Showing format

Founder's Award Traverse City FF

in festivals
Tribeca 2013 (Opening), Hot Docs International Film Festival, Traverse City Film Festival

The National

Tom Berninger, Carin Besser

Sound designer
Paul Hsu, Branka Mrkic, Luciano Vignola, Allan Zaleski

Music Composer
Aaron Dessner, Bryce Dessner, The National

Craig Charland, Matt Berninger, Carin Besser

Film company
American Mary Productions

Film distributor
Monoduo Films

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